ICC Approves Markings for Fire-Rated Glazing Assemblies
May 20, 2010

The International Code Council (ICC) yesterday approved a proposal that mandates, among other things, how fire-rated glazing products are to be marked.

The proposal is the result of research by ICC's Code Technology Committee (CTC) on the contentious topic of fire-rated glazing marking. CLICK HERE to read more on the work leading up to this decision.

New to the section is table 715.3, which sets the procedure for marking fire-rated glazing assemblies.

Table 715.3: Marking Fire-Rated Glazing Assemblies

Fire Test Standard Marking Definition of Marking
ASTM E119 or UL 263 W Meets wall assembly criteria.
NFPA 257 or UL 9 OH Meets fire window assembly criteria including the hose stream test.
NFPA 252 or UL 10B or UL 10C D

H

T

Meets fire door assembly criteria.

Meets fire door assembly "Hose Stream" test.

Meets to 450º F temperature rise criteria for 30 minutes

XXX The time in minutes of the fire resistance or fire protection rating of the glazing assembly

In their reasoning in favor of the proposed change, proponents Paul K. Heilstedt, PE, FAIA, chair, representing the CTC, and William F. O'Keeffe, representing SAFTI First, explained that the study group, consisting of fire-rated glazing manufacturers, fire and building code officials, architects, engineers and a fire protection engineer, agreed that the existing markings were causing confusion. "It was recognized by the study group that the existing marking system, as those marks were designated in product listings, was leading to fire protection products in applications not allowed by the IBC. After numerous meetings and a full hearing before the CTC, the study group and the CTC unanimously approved proposing these changes to the IBC's Marking Provisions," the code change proposal stated.

In their reasoning in favor of the proposed change, proponents Paul K. Heilstedt, PE, FAIA, chair, representing the CTC, and William F. O'Keeffe, representing SAFTI First, explained that the study group, consisting of fire-rated glazing manufacturers, fire and building code officials, architects, engineers and a fire protection engineer, agreed that the existing markings were causing confusion. "It was recognized by the study group that the existing marking system, as those marks were designated in product listings, was leading to fire protection products in applications not allowed by the IBC. After numerous meetings and a full hearing before the CTC, the study group and the CTC unanimously approved proposing these changes to the IBC's Marking Provisions," the code change proposal stated.

The approved proposal includes the following changes:

  1. Adds a new Table 715.3, to define and relate the various test standards for fire-rated glazing to the designations used to mark fire-rated glazing. A new definition of the term "fire-rated glazing" is also included.
  2. While the designations "W," "OH," "D," "DT," "DH" and "XXX" used to mark fire-rated glazing will remain as they were originally adopted in 2004, the marking of fire-rated glazing in fire door assemblies (D) are simplified by deleting the NH designation (not hose stream tested) and the NT designation (not temperature rise tested). It is clarified that those designations correspond to test standards, not end uses. Tables 715.4 and 715.5 show the markings required for acceptance in specified applications.
  3. All text provision used to define and relate test standards to marking designations are deleted in favor of including all of the required marking provisions in Tables 715.3, 715.4 and 715.5. This is intended to provide building and fire code officials with easy access to all of the information needed when inspecting fire window and fire door installations, including required marking designations.
  4. In connection with removing many of the text provisions referring to the marking of fire-rated glazing and the inclusion of all pertinent marking requirements in tables 715.4 and 715.5, a number of columns are added to those Tables. These new columns specify the required designations that the building and fire code officials will need to look for when inspecting fire-rated glazing in the various categories of fire resistance rated walls, fire door assemblies and fire window assemblies identified in Tables 715.4 and 715.5.
  5. The size limitation provisions starting at 715.4.6.1 are re-written to eliminate the use of "exceptions" and thus clarify them - no substantive changes to these provisions are intended.
  6. It was determined that Table 715.4 inadvertently omitted reference to 1 1/2 hour doors in shaft, exit enclosures and exit passageway walls and this proposal adds that reference to the Table.
  7. The Marking Provisions have been written to clarify that fire protection rated glazing tested to NFPA 257 and used in transoms and sidelites in certain fire barriers and corridor walls will also have to be tested to NFPA 252 since they are a part of a door assembly. Accordingly, these glazings are marked D-H-OH-XXX.

Thom Zaremba of the Glazing Industry Code Committee was a member of the study group at the time. "We found that there was a simple solution … I believe FS107 represents a significant advance; where issues previously existing among fire-rated glazing industry, they have all come forward to support this," Zaremba told the panel during yesterday's code hearing. He also noted that this proposal had been unanimously recommended for approval by the committee.

Howard Hopper, representing Underwriters Laboratories Inc., advised disapproval, seeing "a number of correlation errors and misnumbered sections" that he said might not be easily corrected with a public comment. Despite any errors that may exist, the proposal ultimately was approved by ICC.

The ICC code change proposal hearings are taking place this week through May 23 in Dallas. Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for further updates.

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